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How Does Mary Shelley Convey Horror To The Reader In 'frankenstein'?

1791 words - 7 pages

In Mary Shelley's gothic novel 'Frankenstein', horror is conveyed using a variety of techniques. She was very well read, and a lot of the stories and books that she loved are reflected in her writing. Her mother (Mary Wollstonecroft) was a writer and early feminist thinker. She died shortly after her daughter's birth. Her father was William Godwin, a political theorist, novelist, and essayist. He avidly encouraged his daughter's efforts as a young writer by introducing her to eminent intellectuals of the time, and offering her free access to his extensive library. Consequently, she grew up into a cultural and well read young woman.Aged 15, she met the young, recently married poet Percy Shelley, and fell in love with him. She eloped with him in 1814, when she was 17, and had his first child in 1815- it died however, within 12 days. Whilst the couple were staying with Lord Byron (another distinguished poet and author of the time) in his villa in Sweden, the host set a challenge to his guests to write a horror story. It is said that 'Frankenstein' was written in response to this challenge- inspired by a nightmare that she had, and written by the idyllic shores of Lake Geneva.She married Percy in 1816 after his wife drowned herself, and she had his second child- it died at the age of 3. Her novel 'Frankenstein' was published in 1818, and after her husband's death, she lived by her own writing.Many of the circumstances she experienced whilst writing 'Frankenstein' are apparent, if even indirectly, in her novel. For instance, the tundra and mountains of where she was become the setting for some parts of her novel. She uses the cold, impenetrable harshness of the landscapes to mirror the brutal, merciless extremes that the monster is driven to.Another influence that is more subtly evident in this novel is the idea of suicide. Between the time when she began writing 'Frankenstein', and when it was published, two people who she knew, and was probably quite close to, killed themselves- her half-sister, and Percy's first wife. This influence can be detected in that the monster, in the end, is driven to taking his own life, whereas Frankenstein wasn't, even after so many of his loved ones have been killed. This then implies that the monster is almost more sensitive, and perhaps, ironically, more human than Frankenstein himself.The novel is written from 3 people's point of view; in apostolic form from the point of view of Captain Walton, who is writing letters to his sister. We then get Frankenstein's narration, and the monster himself also tells his version of the story. This is effective in creating horror, because whilst we are reading Captain Walton's letters, the monster is perceived as animal, unfeeling and evil (obviously how he comes across to others, because Captain Walton represents the '3rd person' or onlooker, and his letters reflect his perceptions). However, when we read the monster's point of view, we see that he is literate, intelligent, and...

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